Pen Class: Executive ($500 to $999)
Street Price:: $525.00
Body Material: Blue Cotton Resin
Nib Material: 18k Gold
Nib Size: Fine, Medium, Broad
Cap Type: Slip/Snap On/Off
Filling Mechanism: Piston
Ink Capacity: 1.20 ml / 0.04 oz
Overall Weight: 28 g / 0.99 oz
Cap Weight: 10 g / 0.35 oz
Body Weight: 18 g / 0.64 oz
Overall Length Capped: 150 mm / 5.91 in
Overall Length Posted: 174 mm / 6.85 in
Body Length (not including nib): 110 mm / 4.33 in
Nib Length: 22 mm / 0.87 in
Body Length (including nib): 132 mm / 5.20 in
Cap Diameter w/o Clip: 17 mm / 0.67 in
Cap Diameter w/Clip: 20 mm / 0.79 in
Body Diameter: 15 mm / 0.59 in
Section Diameter: 12 mm / 0.47
If this pen were a movie, it would be…
My Blue Heaven (1990)
Dan: 9.0 – Omas has done an outstanding job with the presentation of this Limited Edition 360. You really feel like you’re opening something special when you slide the heavy duty box from the protective silver sleeve. Much of the inside of the box, and even on the inside of the lid, is lined with a micro-fiber suede-like material that makes you just want to pet it all day.
Upon opening the box, the first thing you’ll see is a frosted card that congratulates you on your purchase and lets you know that this pen has been tested by Omas’ Quality Control Department. The pen is presented in a single pen sleeve made of the same material that lines the box and a bottle of Omas Turquoise ink is secured in the corner. A little tab that peaks out from the side just begs you to pull on it, revealing two booklets containing information about the warranty, Omas’ history, and some of their other pens.
The packaging for this pen is exactly what I would expect to receive both from Omas and for any pen in this price range. The box is very solid and could probably be used a jack stand in your garage…ok, maybe not that solid, but you get the idea.
Eric: 9.25 - Stunning, gorgeous, superb. Those are the first three words that sprang to my mind when opening the Omas Vintage 360′s packaging. I had the distinct feeling that I was testing the fit of a glass slipper – and that I had found my Cinderella.
The packaging is not gaudy, not ostentatious. It whispers understated elegance.
If they had only found a way to incorporate a small sliver of exotic wood, I might have been forced to provide a score of 10 in this category.
Dan: 8.25 – The piston on the Omas 360 is very good. The o-ring makes contact with the barrel in two spots for a greater seal but still feels smooth and is very easy to operate, free of any sticking points throughout the cycle. The mechanism looks to be well made and requires 4 ⅓ rotations to fully extend or retract the piston. The triangular shape of the pen and piston knob allow for a solid grip during operation. As is common with many piston filling fountain pens, the piston knob on the 360 does extend away from the barrel during the expelling stroke.
My only critique is that the piston doesn’t seem as efficient as it could be. The piston unit is quite long in relation to its filling stroke, minimizing ink capacity. I usually don’t care that much about ink capacity but in a pen with a flexible nib and heavy flow it does tend to be more noticeable. I went through nearly three full fills in this pen during testing, which is unheard of for me. But maybe that says more about how good of a writer it is than its ink capacity…
Eric: 9.0 - The piston on the Omas 360 is excellent. Its operation is so smooth, I at times wondered if anything inside the pen was moving.
I agree with you, Dan, that the piston mechanism itself is on the long side and likely deprives the pen of a larger ink fill. However, because I can see the inner-workings of this pen, I appreciate larger mechanics to view.
I found the triangular turning knob slightly awkward at first, but quickly adapted.
Dan: 9.5 – The first few minutes with this pen were utterly mind blowing! From opening the box, to laying eyes on its beautiful transparent turquoise resin, and then discovering the nib has near semi-flex capabilities. I really was as giddy as a little kid.
I filled the pen with the included Omas Turquoise ink and headed straight for a Rhodia pad. The nib was amazing but a little heavy on the flow, even for me. When pushing the limits of the flex I could see the heavy flow was actually causing some feathering, not something I’m used to seeing on Rhodia. I also started to get a sneaking feeling that I was going to run into issues with the shape of the grip section.
I really enjoyed the first stages of becoming familiar with the Omas 360. At the end of our introduction I noticed the barrel was nearly empty so I decided to top it off before the start of the upcoming work week as I had a feeling it was going to get a lot of use.
Eric: 8.0 - I don’t often run into modern, piston-filling, grail-caliber fountain pens that include a slip-cap. When I do, I take notice. I find slip-caps very convenient.
I inked the pen with the included Omas Turquoise and introduced the nib to Clairefontaine. The two got along like old friends and seemed to ignore me completely. What fun! The nib glided across the paper much like an ice skate on a frozen lake. There was mere hint of feedback, but not the troubling kind. Rather, the kind that barely lets you know you’re using a fountain pen – and only if you care to pay attention.
The flow on the pen was very wet. Far too wet for my taste, but I imagine a flow adjustment would easily solve that small bother.
I did not find the triangular shape of the pen’s section to be particularly comfortable or pleasing. I did not fixate on it, however, deciding that the upcoming Road Trip would be better suited to a full assessment.
Dan: 9.5 – I really don’t think a nib gets any better than this. The large, #6 sized, 18k gold nib has one of the best imprint designs I’ve ever seen. It’s clean, simple, and beautiful. Front and center is the triangular shape of the pen’s cross section, “OMAS” below that, the gold content markings below that, and a single letter denoting the nib size on the left shoulder. What impressed me the most was that the triangular shape imprint is so large that it wraps around the curved shoulders of the nib instead of just being on the smaller, flatter, top region of the nib.
The only reason I didn’t give the 360 a perfect 10 here is because of the section. I don’t think the triangular shape has as much appeal as a round section and will certainly turn some people off. If I hold the pen in a natural, comfortable way, the nib is rotated about 60 degrees counterclockwise to where it should. I can rotate the pen and use it just fine, it just isn’t as comfortable.
Eric: 8.5 - I am impressed with the nib on the Omas 360. The size of the nib is a good match to the size of the pen. The imprint of the pen’s cross section is beautiful, indeed. But it also includes one, in my opinion, extraneous line (from the center of the cross-section toward the “m” in Omas). The line should not be there and for some unknown reason, I find it difficult to ignore. Click the photo of the nib here in the review for a full-sized view. You’ll note the line to which I refer.
Part of me feels that something other than a perfectly round breather hole would have been perfect on this pen.
Neither the extraneous line nor the rather plain breather hole, however, take away from the superb performance of the nib. If all nibs on all pens worked as beautifully as this, we’d all have much less to talk about.
Dan: 7.5 – I’m not going to waste your time here: the nib is awesome. I wouldn’t quite call it semi-flex, but it’s definitely much more than ‘springy’ or ‘soft’. It’s easy to get nice line variation and starting with a medium nib that produces a line measuring 0.6mm in width, I can easily flex it to 1.2mm. So, I guess you could call it semi-flex if you wanted to.
Whether it’s a semi-flex or not, there is one thing you won’t mistake it for and that’s a vintage flex nib. It doesn’t take a lot of pressure to open up the tines but it also doesn’t have the same response as vintage nibs. However, it’s leagues ahead of any affordable steel options out there and much better than palladium nibs of which I consider to just be super soft.
The ebonite feed rarely has trouble keeping up. I was able to write about half a page much faster than I’d ever normally write with lots of flex before railroading became an issue. The feed does provide heavy flow so ink and paper choice will be critical, which may make this pen a no-go for daily use depending on your conditions. I discovered that on Rhodia a few inks I’ve never had problems with actually feathered a bit. There was also significant bleed through which will remove the possibility of writing on both sides of the same sheet.
When not flexing the nib, it can be fairly well behaved, but still a wet writer. The nib also has great feedback and was a smooth writer whether it was flexed or not. The rest of the pen performed just as well as the nib. The shape of the clip makes it super easy to clip the pen one handed and while it doesn’t feel like the clip has a lot of tension, I never had an issue with it moving from where I clipped it. The cap also never moved when I posted it. It was solid and secure, just as you would expect.
The only real issue I had with the pen was trying to find a comfortable way to grip it. In the video I show exactly what I’m about to describe. If I just grab the pen and hold it so that my thumb, index, and middle finger are resting on the flats of the section, the pen is actually very comfortable. The problem is that in this position the nib is rotated about 60 degrees so that I would be writing with the side of the nib. If I rotate the pen so the nib is in the proper position then I have to hold the pen on the edges, which takes away a lot of that comfort. Somehow, this is still more comfortable for me than than the section on the Lamy Safari / Al-Star.
Eric: 8.5 - The Omas Vintage 360 performs extremely well. It seems to have been born to write, and that’s just what it does. It never so much as hinted at a hard start, much less a skip. True, the flow is far too wet for my taste, but that might be an asset for some and can be altered for others.
I would definitely call the nib a semi-flex. No, it’s not vintage flex, but it’s much, much more than springy. And the flex it has is the particular variety I most enjoy, the kind that must be consciously requested – not the kind that is “always on.”
Dan: 9.0 – If you noticed, the name of this pen is the Omas Vintage 360 Turquoise. That word ‘Vintage’ is very important, as without it this pen probably wouldn’t be getting reviewed here. The shape of the Vintage 360 is just so much more appealing than the new 360 design. But, we’re not comparing pens here so I’ll try to focus on just the pen in hand.
The material this pen is made from, translucent turquoise vegetal resin, is absolutely gorgeous! I can’t imagine a better trim option than the included rhodium plated High Tech trim that came on our pen. There is a version with rose gold trim but it just doesn’t compare. And the shape of this pen is unlike anything else out there. It’ll definitely turn heads.
The cap features a ribbed panel on each surface that isn’t found on previous 360s. I think it’s a nice touch that adds some tactility to the cap. Not that it’ll help you remove the cap from the pen as I still find the best way is to push against the end of the clip with your thumb. The snap closure does an excellent job of keeping the cap securely closed. The only thing that baffles me is why Omas chose to go with a black inner cap instead of either a clear or matching translucent turquoise one? I think the black inner cap makes the cap appear too dark, plus it hides the nib.
Returning to the clip, I’m very pleased with its design. I think it looks fantastic, but more importantly it functions well. The familiar Greek key style elements can be found on the bands on the cap and section and are accompanied by a thinner, plain band. To prevent the other end of the pen from being too barren another thin band is placed near the end of the barrel. It’s a nice touch and a worthy enhancement that doesn’t make the pen appear to gaudy.
Eric: 7.0 - The triangular shape scores high in the coolness department. The turquoise resin is absolutely gorgeous. The clip is one of the nicest I have ever seen. All trim placement is elegant and classy.
The Omas Vintage 360 Turquoise would deserve museum placement were it not for the amazingly poor choice of color for the inner cap. It’s not just black, it’s opaque. Cap the pen and the nib is completely hidden. It’s enough to make you ask aloud, “What were they thinking?!?”
My guess is that they weren’t thinking. Or, because the inner-cap is also the slip-cap that holds the pen in place when capped, perhaps the only material strong enough came only in black? I’ll have to go with that assumption. I just can’t imagine a pen designer with any level of experience purposely deciding to make this pen’s inner-cap opaque, much less black.
Dan: 9.25 – The level of detail is everything you’d expect on a pen with an MSRP of $750.
I’ve been told this pen is machined, but I still have my doubts. While it’s apparent that certain areas are machined, for instance, the internal bore of the piston knob still has machine marks in it, I can’t imagine how the profile is created or the bands are added to the cap and section without injection molding. Not that it matters either way, I’m just curious about these things.
When it comes down to it, the only thing that really matters is the final product and, in this case, it’s superb. I couldn’t find any imperfections in the translucent turquoise cotton resin. If the entire pen, or just portions of it, is machined, it’s hard to tell. Every bit of the pen is crystal clear except the inside of the piston knob, as mentioned above.
Eric: 10 - There is absolutely no remnant of the manufacturing process to be found on the Omas Vintage 360. Go ahead. Grab a loupe. You’ll not find a thing.
All pen manufacturers should study the Omas 360 and use it as a standard by which to measure their own manufacturing processes.
The detailing is so superb, I’m nearly willing to forgive them the black inner-cap.
Dan: 7.5 – The majority of the score for this section really hinges on how comfortable this pen is to use for an extended amount of time. Unfortunately, anything other than a round section tends to cause problems for me. This pen was no exception. If I could have the nib rotated in the section so that it was in the proper position for the way I hold the pen then this would probably be a very comfortable pen.
Thankfully, the nib and feed performed amazing well and kept me entertained. I should note that if you’re someone who doesn’t care for the section on the Lamy Safari, you may not necessarily hate the 360. I found that since the section is quite a bit larger on the 360 it makes it easier to hold on to. The difference being that I don’t ever want to use the Safari, even for short notes, while I didn’t mind using the 360 during the Road Trip.
Eric: 8.25 – I began my Road Trip with some trepidation regarding the triangular section of the Omas 360. Within a few minutes, I realized I was fixating on the section and my grip, so I made a conscious decision to ignore it completely.
I wrote slowly, I wrote quickly. I played with the nib’s flex. I played with applying different amounts of pressure while writing, I was amazed how the pen performed flawlessly even when I made a game of trying to apply absolutely zero pressure.
Naturally, there were no hard starts, no hesitations, no skipping issues what-so-ever.
About half-way through the Road Trip, I realized that my grip on the pen had adapted to the triangular section. A pen in my hand usually rests just to the outside of the last knuckle on my index finger (nail-side of the knuckle). With the Omas 360, I found the pen was resting just to the inside of that last knuckle. I noticed no discomfort. The nib to paper orientation was to my liking. Everything was copacetic.
I’ll echo Dan and also admit that I never use a Lamy Safari because the section simply does not work for me. But while triangular, the section of the Omas 360 is very different from the section of the Safari. So much so, that I enjoy writing with the Omas 360 – even for extended periods.
|Nib design & performance||Section design|
|Material choice/color||Black Inner-Cap|
Famous Last Words:
Dan: This line is almost a cliché in the pen world, but photos really don’t do this pen justice. If you mildly like it in pictures, you’ll love it in person. The only hurdle will be whether or not the section will work for you. The MSRP of $750 may be a stretch for some, but at $600, which several retailers are selling it for, it becomes much more attractive. One thing is certain: if you buy this pen, you won’t be disappointed with its beauty, quality, or writing experience.
Eric: No question about it; if the Omas Vintage 360 falls within the constraints of your pen budget, it needs to be on your short list. It is devastatingly beautiful.